The Sweeper: The Football Association and Diversity in English Football

Kick It Out Campaign

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The Kick it Out campaign for equality and inclusion in English football has been a notable success over the years, and is currently in the midst of a high-profile campaign this month, “One Game, One Community. As well as their grassroots work, Kick It Out have this year been exerting more and more pressure on the game’s leadership to reflect the diversity of the country from the top-down.

David Conn reports that attention is being focused on the Football Association, whose board, headed by Lord Triesman, consists of 12 white, middle-aged men: “The FA’s whiteness, and its sluggish approach to change, drew Ouseley’s [Kick It Out's chairman] ire in May after a British National Party councillor attended the launch of England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Citing that as a “debacle”, Ouseley said he, Crooks, Kick it Out’s director Piara Powar, and Heather Rabbatts, the former Millwall chief executive, had two “heated” meetings subsequently with Triesman. These four, with the former Celtic and Chelsea player and now World Cup bid director Paul Elliott, have been working together as a lobby group to encourage the FA to introduce more of a racial mix into the organisation.”

This pressure appears to have worked, as the Football Association’s England World Cup bid announced today all the members of its Inclusivity Advisory Group, an 11-person panel headed by Paul Elliott, and including Piara Powar, the Director of Kick It Out. Representatives from the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, the National Association of Disabled Supporters and women’s football are also included. This is a welcome move in response to the criticism, but advisory roles are not enough: the F.A. should also work towards seeing that positions of power for a game that reflects the country’s diversity do not only come from one entrenched demographic of white, middle-aged men.

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What I didn’t like was at times people putting the knife in, things like that, people backstabbing and talking about people

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